Students and faculty at the Wichita State Speech-Language-Hearing clinic have seen firsthand the difference their programs make in the community. When Dr. Karissa Marble-Flint and Colleen Novak, faculty members in the Communication Sciences and Disorders department, recognized a need for reading assistance with Wichita children, they decided to create the first Summer Literacy Camp at the clinic.
Marble-Flint and Novak developed the camp for children who had completed kindergarten, first and second grades with language-literacy difficulties or disorders. The six-week-long program used storytelling, activities and hands-on materials to strengthen the children's literacy skills. Speech-Language Pathology graduate students and faculty facilitated a variety of activities designed to improve reading and language comprehension.
“One of the great things about Literacy Camp is that it provided our students and future speech-language pathology providers applied learning experience while helping children in the community,” says Marble-Flint.
Marble-Flint and Novak were inspired to bring Literacy Camp to the Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic after hearing about Impact Literacy, a strategic initiative of The Wichita Community Foundation. The initiative was created to encourage the community to develop strong readers in childhood while increasing academic performance.
They were also astonished to learn from an article published in The Wichita Eagle that only about 25 percent of Wichita third graders are on the appropriate trajectory to be prepared for college-level reading.
“We wanted to be a positive influence for children's literacy skills,” says Marble-Flint. “We knew our Communication Sciences and Disorders department had the opportunity to address this need in our community.”
Each week the materials and focus revolved around a different theme, such as ice cream or the rainforest. Marble-Flint says engaging the kids through fun themes helps the faculty and students connect with them better and further enhance their interest in reading.
Marble-Flint and Novak plan to continue Literacy Camp and/or similar groups in the future.
“We were very pleased with the outcome of the camp,” she says. “Each child learned to have fun with reading and showed significant progress throughout the program.”
The Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic offers several programs and groups for children and adults with communications difficulties. For more information, go to www.wichita.edu/slhclinic.